Real Life Mama: Praying for my purpose

Last Sunday, I got baptized. Immediately following, my daughter got baptized. Right after that, my bonus daughter got baptized. And by the end of the service, my other daughter felt God nudging at her heart and was at the alter proclaiming her salvation.

I almost feel like that is all I need to write for this week. That’s it. That is all. That is EVERYTHING.

For years, probably all of my life, I have searched for my value and worth – my purpose. At times, it was how fulfilling my career was – was I moving quickly enough to the next level there? There were other times I based it on how many friends I had – who was inviting me to go places with them? What group did I belong to?

Still other times I tried to find it in how successfully I had done the “right” steps of life – graduate high school, graduate college, get married, have babies, establish a career – was I “on track?”

Admittedly so, there were even times I based it on completing tasks to get to my reward — a drink or two in the evening. After all, I was winning at getting all those items checked off my list, didn’t I deserve it?

There were also times I thought my value and worth came from milestones my children had hit – from infancy on. Did she walk quick enough or was she delayed? How is her speech? Is she at the right level for reading? Is she advanced? Why isn’t she more advanced?

All of these things – collectively – made me question who I was as a person — if I was doing well enough at life. They all challenged my worth – and held up a measuring stick of success that I just never seemed to, well, measure up to.

None of those things filled me up – none of those things made me feel like I had found what I was looking for. There was always something more – a void – something I just couldn’t reach.

They all left me with questions – and they all demanded more. And more. And more of me. And still were unattainable.

And so, I started praying for my purpose. What am I supposed to do? What will fulfill me? Where should I be applying myself more or less?

I quit drinking – do I need to be helping people with that? Is my current job the one for me – what does it do for others? Where can I leave my name – my mark in this world? What am I here for?

I was waiting for a big, vibrant answer. I mean, even as a child, I had big dreams to change the world! I was ready for it – just needed God to show me it.

And He did subtly – much like the way he sent his son as a poor, helpless baby. In fact, that’s what He showed me – Jesus.

My worth as a mother, daughter, friend, employee, wife, and sober Christian woman would never be enough for anything in this world. But that’s not the point – or maybe, that is exactly the point. If my worth and my purpose is dependent on the world, then I will always come up short.

My purpose isn’t big and extravagant – it’s not mighty and overcoming. But it is just as important. It is to know Jesus – and know that, even though I am not worthy, He thinks I am. It is to seek Jesus and, even when I stumble, I have His hand to help me up. It is to tell everyone around me about Jesus and what He has done for me and what He can do for them.

It is to show my kids Jesus – and their worth and value in Him. It’s to pass along undeniable faith and grace so that they know that when this world fails them – or when they fail this world – they can never fail Jesus. And He will never fail them.

And last Sunday, I got to tell the world all about my purpose in Him through my baptism – right next to two little girls whom I love dearly and pray I am raising right – who also got to tell the world about Him through their baptism.

Not too long ago, someone, jokingly, asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. At that point, I couldn’t come up with a response. I can now.

This. This is what I want to be. A child of God not afraid to proclaim that I am a child of God – right next to my children who also know that they are children of God. No job, situation, grade, divorce, drink, parent or friend can compare. This is my value. This is my worth. This is my purpose.

And this is everything.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.